Jesus’ General Commands Listed Along With The Apostles’ Specific Commands That Define Applications

To survey Jesus’ commands in a useful way, avoid two extremes. One extreme is that of scholars who list every instance of every command, over three hundred items. Some include things that Jesus mentioned but did not command, or repeat the same command stated in different ways. Some add commands that do not apply to all believers, such as “wash in the pool of Siloam” or “wait in Jerusalem.” The other extreme is to argue that, since love covers everything, it is enough to heed just two commands: love and pray. This simplistic extreme lacks direction; believers merely sit around blessing God and each another.

Seven general commands include everything Jesus told His followers to do, in embryonic form. The first 3,000 converts in Jerusalem following Pentecost obeyed these seven commands from the start (Acts 2:37-47). The word “love” is not used in this passage, yet love is evident in their fellowship and giving. These seven general commands are numbered below, along with a few supportive commands that define applications.

Why only seven? Even seminary graduates find it hard to recall

Jesus’ commands. Few can tell you what they are. When, asked, some will say “love” and then start naming things that aren’t even in the Bible. Those who do not know Jesus’ commands could in no way make disciples as Jesus commanded His disciples in His Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). Scholars have written books on discipleship that are merely compilations of doctrine ? excellent teaching but hardly discipleship. To start a church by merely teaching doctrine leaves a power vacuum by default. Who is in control of that church? The one that provides the most money? The most educated? One that has been a believer longest? One that shouts loudest in meetings? One that always has the final word in discussions? None of these qualify anyone to lead in the way Jesus and His apostles require. If a new church does not immediately establish its foundation on Jesus’ commands, enthroning Him as the real Head of the body, then Satan soon rushes in and fills the vacuum with spiritual-sounding rules and teaching topics. Often what Satan injects has a good side to it, even biblical ideas, but he uses it to eliminate Christ as the real leader of the new church; soon legalism replaces grace and no one notices.

General commands of Jesus, along with specific commands that define applications

1. Repent, believe, receive the Holy Spirit; this includes being born again of the Spirit, Mark 1:15; John 20:22


“Abide in me,” John 15:4
“Come to me all who labor and are heavy-laden,” Matt. 11:28

2. Be baptized and live the new, holy, transformed life that it initiates; this includes suffering for Jesus, Matt. 28:18-20


Take up your cross and follow me, Mark 8:34
Rejoice when you are persecuted, Luke 6:23

3. Celebrate Communion, Matthew 26:26-28


Worship in Spirit and in truth, John 4:23
Assemble with other believers, Heb. 10:25

4. Love God, fellow believers, family, needy neighbors and enemies (forgive them), Matthew 22:37-40


Love others in a practical way, Matthew 22:37-40
Live in me, and abide in my love, John 15:4, 9
Serve the needy, Luke 14:12-14
Love, bless, and pray for your enemies, Luke 6:27-29
Do to others as you’d have them do to you, Luke 6:31
Beware of hypocrisy and greed, Luke 12:1, 15
Be agreeable with your adversaries, Luke 12:58, Matthew 5: 25
When you judge, do it fairly, John 7:24

5. Make Disciples (evangelize, disciple, shepherd, missions), Matthew 28:18-20


Go and preach to all the world, Mark 16:15 Matthew 28:19
Don’t delay, do it now, John 4:35, 9:4, 12:35
Don’t waste time on argumentative people, Matthew 7:6
Eat whatever people give you, Luke 10:7
Rebuke a brother if he sins, Luke 17:3, Matthew 18:15-17
Don’t fear people, Luke 12:4-5
Move to another city if persecuted, Matthew 10:23
Don’t forbid others to preach Christ, Luke 9:50
Teach all nations to obey these rules, Matthew 28:20
Look on fields that are ripe for harvest, John 4:35

6. Give (stewardship), trust God to meet your needs, Luke 6:38; Matt. 6:32-34


Take nothing for your journey, Luke 9:3, 10:4
Pay legitimate taxes, Luke 20:25, Matthew 22:21
Care for the needy, Luke 10:30-37

7. Pray, John 16:24


When you pray, fast, or give, do it secretly, Matthew 6:1-11
Don’t advertise healings, Matthew 9:30, 12:16
Don’t use vain repetitions when praying, Matthew 6:7
Avoid rash vows and promises made to God, Matthew 5:34-37
Cast out demons, Matt. 10:8


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